Finally a big break for the Bills? Vikings still just mediocre?
The Buffalo Bills are back on the list of favorites ahead of the new season, but so far it hasn’t been enough for the long-awaited ring. In Minnesota, new DC Brian Flores has built a respectable defense. But is it enough for more than mediocrity?
It’s almost outrageous that the Bills have yet to win a Super Bowl with this squad, led by QB Josh Allen and head coach Sean McDermott. In 2022, the Buffalo offense scored the most points per game (28.4) and the most yards per game (397.6) behind the Chiefs. For the third straight year, Allen accounted for more than 35 touchdowns. And Stefon Diggs once again produced more than 1200 receiving yards. Still, it’s not enough. In 2023, the running game duo will be joined by running back Damien Harris, who had a terrific season with the Patriots in 2021. Now he wants to build on old successes. The interior offensive line was also finally addressed and strengthened in the draft and in free agency, among other things. Meanwhile, on defense, one of the league’s best pass rusher units has been formed. Von Miller and Leonard Floyd already know each other from the Rams, and EDGE defenders Gregory Rousseau and A.J. Epenesa have been added.
Buffalo still clearly has to be counted among the favorites, yet there are a few minor question marks. The O-Line looks better, but as a whole is still comparatively weak. The secondary also has potential for improvement. The offense relies on rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid. The pressure on the shoulders of the young pro should be correspondingly high. There are also holes to be filled at the linebacker position, but all in all, the roster could simply be a bit more densely populated.
Motto of the season: Time to reward yourself: Josh Allen is now 27 years old and he really would have more than earned a Super Bowl ring. But it’s quite possible that Buffalo will once again get in its own way.
Minnesota’s offense continues to focus on a lot of play action plays, Kirk Cousins will come mainly through the air and can look forward to rookie Jordan Addison here alongside Justin Jefferson. The receiving corps is actually quite coherent, if not for the departure of WR Adam Thielen and TE Irv Smith. In Free Agency they signed Brandon Powell from the Rams, the receiver now has one year to prove himself. On a positive note, the secondary got some width in the draft from new defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Flores will get more toys for the defense with the additions of DL Marcus Davenport and CB Byron Murphy.
As mentioned earlier, the departure of Adam Thielen definitely hurts the Vikings. Of course, they can bring in a young talent in Jordan Addison, but he desperately needs some more physicality to be truly competitive. There was a contract extension for Alexander Mattison, but in the draft they didn’t pick up a potential replacement for the running back until the seventh round. Who most of the plays on the ground will be run over is pretty predictable. And quarterback Kirk Cousins doesn’t leave you completely carefree about the future, either. That’s because Cousins’ completion rate, as well as yards per attempt, went to a five-year low in 2022 – another development that must at least be mentioned.
Motto of the season: Neither fish nor fowl, the Vikings remain a bit of an enigma. The defense looks much better and offensively they should remain stable, but this team still doesn’t really inspire us.